Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

A recent epiphany in game design

RhoklawRhoklaw Member EpicPosts: 6,327
edited June 2016 in The Pub at MMORPG.COM
Every now and then, posters after reading a lot of threads about a particular subject or while gaming, may have an epiphany about game design. I think I may have just had one of those moments. Of course, these are always just ideas or thoughts and may not be very well received but if we don't discuss them at all, than MMO developers might miss out on improving the genre. So here goes...

After a recent forum discussion and taking into consideration the idea behind Chronicles of Elyria's OPC ( Offline Player Character ) design, I thought about how to combat the never ending flaw in MMO's of guildmates who go missing. Say for instance, you're in a guild and after playing for 3-6 months your main crafter either quits the game or has personal life issues that stops him from being able to play for a long period of time. Well, what if this player could log off in their character's home, which then turns them into an OPC, which can even be scripted to act or say things that the player deems appropriate for their characters RP personality. They could set up their OPC crafter to be able to craft anything they have the skill / recipes for. They could even stock up on certain resources, which could be stored in their home. That way, if another player wants something crafted and they don't have the required ingredients, they can choose to pay a little bit more and use the crafters supplies. The overall effect would be...

Player goes to OPC crafter's home. Player interacts with OPC crafter by either choosing a certain item to be crafted and supplying the ingredients or clicking the "Use OPC crafter's supplies" if available to craft whatever item the Player desires, so long as the OPC crafter has the skill / recipe. In return, the OPC crafter can set up their supply costs as well as additional fees however they see fit. I haven't decided if XP gain should be allowed, but that is something that can always be debated.

This is just a rough idea that could probably use some tweaking, but overall, it gives a good premise for combating guildmates who go missing. This would allow guilds or even random players to make use of said skills until they either, A ) they learn the craft themselves or B ) replace the missing skills with another active Player.

We could use this concept with just about every type of archetype, including combat roles. Such as one of your guilds best Tank players is now gone from the game. If they were kind enough to log off in their home, then they too could be turned into an OPC merc for hire so to speak. So a Player in need of a good Tank searches the market for OPC Tanks that are for hire and then tracks the one they want down and goes to their home to hire them. Basically, it's a computer controlled character which makes use of the gear and skills that they have acquired. Unlike the OPC crafter scenario, I do believe it's only fair that the hired OPC Tank should in fact receive their share of XP gained while out adventuring plus a minimal fee depending on length of time. All items looted however would belong to the Player who hired the OPC Tank.

There are a lot of areas not covered, such as, what determines if a Player can become an OPC. Do they need to remain subscribed? Do they need to purchase OPC tokens from a cash shop ( I hate cash shops myself, so I would choose subscription ). Only problem is, with subscription, Players would only be OPC's so long as they are subscribed. I mean, you could make it so there was no real life cost to be an OPC, but apparently game developers only care about money, so that would never happen. Anyways, like I said, it's just a rough premise of what could be done to combat missing Players.

Let me know what you think, even if you think it's stupid or dumb. Just make sure to give a reason at least, otherwise your input will server no purpose, lol.

Comments

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 20,791
    If you want to allow NPCs to do things, why tie it to the offline accounts of real players?  Why not just make NPCs do the stuff you want without making players go through the hassle of finding a particular offline player?  The latter lets developers play-balance it massively better.
  • sidebustersidebuster Member UncommonPosts: 1,712
    I really like this idea. I think to control it, you could only enable it for X hours a day. It'd be interesting as an idea if you included jobs like keep guard too. So when you're done playing for the day, your character goes and becomes a guard at a watch tower or up on the keep walls.

    Or what if an MMO just straight up had you "jump" into a consciousness of a character you created to take control of it when you got on. But when you logged off, they resumed whatever they were doing. The behavior of the character is set by your actions. So if you're out gathers wood, then so does the character when you're not logged in.

    Would be an interesting idea for sure.
  • DMKanoDMKano Member LegendaryPosts: 20,489
    edited June 2016
    The main problem with the OPC is - scaling over time.

    Over time players come and go - and many never return - this causes the server to have more and more OPC characters - and after lets say hypothetically speaking 10 years - the server could have like 1 million OPCs - that's just not feasible. 

    So you need a system of controlling OPCs over time.

    If only "subscribed" players turn into OPCs - over time subs shrink and you have the opposite problem - not enough OPCs. 

    It's a very tricky problem to solve - do you just kick OPCs from characters that haven't logged in X amount of time, or OPCs that nobody has interacted with in X amount of time?

    There's no ideal way to handle this due to OPCs being tied to player characters.

    So as Quizzical mentioned - the best choice from logistics and scaling perspective is to remove the reliance on players and just have NPCs you can hire as you need.

    Not nearly as "sexy" as OPC but way more doable from game design perspective.
  • RhoklawRhoklaw Member EpicPosts: 6,327
    I guess that would work with NPC's for hire. I just like the idea of creating a town or village and populating it with farmers, loggers, fishermen, guards and so on. Each one requiring coin and maybe food / drink in order to maintain an ongoing contract. Black Desert Online has workers, but that mechanic is rather limited. If you could create roads, than you could create guard patrols. If you could create farms, you could hire farmers. I'm thinking there would have to be a limit on how many NPC's one character or maybe even an account could have working for them. That way, you would need a sizable guild in order to create a bustling village or city.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 20,791
    I've tinkered with the idea of having offline characters stay in the game world, perhaps with a chat message created by the real player.  But that was as a way to offer more variety in NPCs, and not give them actual functionality.

    I hadn't considered DMKano's point, though what I had in mind was a ridiculously huge, procedurally generated game world.  But for something more typical, you could automatically kick offline players from the gameworld once there are too many in an area.
  • vveaver_onlinevveaver_online Member UncommonPosts: 436
    I always wanted to be able to use my friends as NPC companions while my they are offline. 
  • st4t1ckst4t1ck Member UncommonPosts: 755
    i would say you have to log in every x amount of days,   say once every 7 days in order for you opc to stay in game.  I could see the problem of way to many opc's, or like COE if your opc dies, its not an opc until you log back in and soulwalk.
  • fatearsfatears Member UncommonPosts: 86
    I would like to see something more akin to the following: -

    Once a crafter in a guild reaches a certain level, they are able to unlock a guild-wide NPC crafter available in the guild hall, which they can then train with every new recipe they learn, this process costs cash, but they also get a kick-back each time a guild-member pays to use the NPC. 
    You received 25 LOLs. 
    You are posting some laughably bad content, please desist. 
  • mmoguy43mmoguy43 Member UncommonPosts: 2,770
    "Hey buddy, could go ahead and log out so I can interact with your OPC?" :)


  • KopogeroKopogero Member UncommonPosts: 1,685
    I was always against NPC's and always will be. I'm not playing MULTI player games to interact like a single player experience and the more NPC's the world has the focus is less shifted toward players. Oh and I didn't even bother reading thread since it was too long.

    image

  • DeivosDeivos Member EpicPosts: 3,692
    I've made a similar suggestion in the past of a game built around the mindset that players are making a "sims-like" avatar, a character to which they are creating a unique personality and behavior set and which will persist in the world doing stuff regardless of whether the user is logged in.

    The reason for doing this in my case was because I wanted to detach the player from their avatar somewhat and allow multiple games to be built utilizing the same core character and game data. In other words, mobile game that operates like an interactive diary of your hero that you can influence, a more sims style game experience of nebulously guiding your avatar using a sprite similar to Navi with super powers, and a more involved "possession" mode for sit-down play.

    The aspect of making a living world is part of it, and the ability to utilize the player's avatars to fulfill social roles when the user is offline was a component I'd considered and already had several aspects to make reasonable.

    1. Online/Offline - Characters could have professions and fulfill contracts in my concept ranging from regular gathering and crafting into being hired as NPC mercenaries for things like quest and dungeon runs. This posed a problem of "What happens when they login?" Turns out the answer is simple, load the avatar up wherever they logged off. The entire process is just that you're letting the NPC version complete it's present task, while the user version pops up where the player left off, be it with a summary report of the avatar's offline activity. IF this stretches people's imagination, you can swap the NPC version for a generic model and name using the same stats and skills and make some portal animation play around the character when they log in and appear wherever they were before.
    2. Inactivity - The problem suggested by others above that sometimes players stop playing. This one had a pretty simple solution too. Track the offline status of players and if they haven't logged within a specific amount of time, archive their characters and account and take it off the live servers. That gives players a grace window for operation and allows guilds to act on an offline notice for a user to seek replacement (be it in the form of another player or an NPC).
    3. Playstyle - So a major concern is the fact that a character designed to express themselves needs a way to do that in the gameplay. In titles where you assume direct control of the character you already see the amount of personality you can govern to be directly limited during the course of any play not centered on narrative gameplay. Even when talking about the game elements that focus on the narrative such as dialogue you still run into the problem of autonomy versus control. How much detail and specificity you have as a player over how your character speaks and acts. Overall swaying of things such as is Bioware's method means the character has a lot of personality to which you are guiding rather than actually building. Borderlands even less so because it's personality is almost entirely delivered via dialogue and odd events while everything else is going on.
    I didn't really have much of a solution for that last problem. It boils down really to the type of gameplay one is chasing after for the game any ways since games like Mass Effect and Borderlands are known for how much personality their character's and content has even if you don't have a high degree of control over it. However, unless you're doing the SWTOR thing to all the dialogue conversations and canning the entire experience with a super-scripted narrative, then you're going to have to find a form of gameplay that will enable characters to express those personalities player's just built.

    "The knowledge of the theory of logic has no tendency whatever to make men good reasoners." - Thomas B. Macaulay

    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." - Daniel J. Boorstin

  • KilrainKilrain Member RarePosts: 1,177
    The OPC doesn't replace NPC's, but rather allows players to access some of the abilities they're missing from their offline teammate. Crafter OPCs can craft certain items for their friends, Gather OPCs can gather albeit slowly and trade to friends, etc. It completely depends on the design of the game itself, but it's feasible.
  • DKLondDKLond Member RarePosts: 2,180
    If you ask me, we're looking at this from the wrong angle.

    One of the biggest problems with the current MMO design paradigm, if you ask me, is that progression is nullified with every expansion - or with any significant game update.

    In my opinion, progression should - instead - work more like it works in real life. As in, you can't keep learning new things indefinitely without losing some of your knowledge of other things.

    You tend to best at the things you're focusing on - and if you keep spreading yourself thin - then you'll end up not mastering anything.

    Essentially, make progression less about adding stuff to your character sheet - only to be nullified at next expansion - and more about actual player skill coupled with current player focus.

    That way, you won't leave people behind - because they can catch up without spending an inordinate amount of time trying to work through the "new stuff".
  • SpottyGekkoSpottyGekko Member EpicPosts: 6,861
    As with many of CoE's concepts, the "OPC" feature looks good on paper and in the imagination of KS backers, but the implementation of the feature is going to be a whole different ballgame.

    The "OPC" version of your character is not going to be behaving as you would. It is going to do what any NPC in any MMO does, i.e. repeat a small set of scripted actions in the same area over and over again.

    The idea of replacing "missing guildmates" with bots is probably something that would work in today's MMO's. It is completely contrary to the whole social goal of guilds in a MMO, something which has already been eroded almost to extinction.

    If your main crafter goes AWOL, you're supposed to either recruit a new player or organise an internal effort to train a replacement for that missing player. Replacing that player with a bot locks-down that function in the guild and makes it very hard for a new member to be promoted into that function.

    The next step would probably be to sell ready-made "NPC guildmates" in the Cash Shop, lol
  • fatearsfatears Member UncommonPosts: 86
    OPC's would probably be more social than most modern mmo players.
    You received 25 LOLs. 
    You are posting some laughably bad content, please desist. 
  • GdemamiGdemami Member EpicPosts: 11,611
    edited June 2016
    The only benefit of OPC is an immersion - no characters are leaving the world. Apart from that, it is entirely pointless.

    It is lots of effort to overcome related technical and design issues to implement  while you gain very litte in return.


    Just next in the line of red flags to CoE backers...
  • GrumpyHobbitGrumpyHobbit Member RarePosts: 1,220
    edited June 2016
    OPC's will not stay around till the end of time. They age and die. If a player quits their OPC will only remain in the world for a period of time related to their age/life left. 

    Also, if the world needs to be re-balanced to bring in more or less NPC's, that is what famine, war or disease is for to trim the fat or an increase in fertility to expand. 


  • joeri123joeri123 Member UncommonPosts: 247
    fatears said:
    I would like to see something more akin to the following: -

    Once a crafter in a guild reaches a certain level, they are able to unlock a guild-wide NPC crafter available in the guild hall, which they can then train with every new recipe they learn, this process costs cash, but they also get a kick-back each time a guild-member pays to use the NPC. 

    I had this exact same idea. This would be awesome.
  • SpottyGekkoSpottyGekko Member EpicPosts: 6,861
    joeri123 said:
    fatears said:
    I would like to see something more akin to the following: -

    Once a crafter in a guild reaches a certain level, they are able to unlock a guild-wide NPC crafter available in the guild hall, which they can then train with every new recipe they learn, this process costs cash, but they also get a kick-back each time a guild-member pays to use the NPC. 

    I had this exact same idea. This would be awesome.
    Spoken like a true non-crafter, lol !

    Let's just replace the inconvenience of dealing with a human player by replacing them with a bot... :D 

    That way, you can have your stuff made whenever you want, on demand instantly !

    No need to wait for the guild crafter to logon, or finish their dungeon run, or whatever...
  • JermzyJermzy Member UncommonPosts: 211
    Horrible idea.  Just the thought of all the coding is a nightmare.  The problem that you are trying to deal with is one of the things that make an MMO an MMO.  Just kick them from guild and find a replacement.  It is not that difficult unless you have a terrible time making friends or a lack of interest in your guild, or both.
    Haroo!
  • Loke666Loke666 Member EpicPosts: 21,441
    No, crafting should either be done by actual humans or you could just as well have a regular npc do it.

    One off-line crafting system I could live with would be that crafting actually would take longer time to do than a second but that your character would have a queue and craft when you are offline.So a busy crafter could be up and working for 6-8 hours in the guildhall while the player is sleeping, working or something else. That would make the guildhall feel more alive when people are offline and add a bit of realism to sword smithing and similar crafts without making crafting too boring. You need a good interface for it though so you see if you will run out of mats before completing your days work.

    Also, if you add player rooms in the guildhall you could have guildmembers avatars sleep in their rooms, eat dinner at the dining hall and hang out in the common room if you want the guild to feel more alive but you should only do that for players that have been online/paid their guild fees the last month or so, or you would get creepy ghost guilds using up game resources for nothing. It would add a little realism and immersion to the game with very limited work.
  • VelifaxVelifax Member UncommonPosts: 413
    Quite Interesting. Others have outlined issues like inflation, but one benefit would be different timezone players being able to keep the value of transactions within the group without delaying their transactions. 

    How about allowing PCs to function as NPC party members on raids? ;)
  • sidebustersidebuster Member UncommonPosts: 1,712
    Loke666 said:
    ...or you would get creepy ghost guilds using up game resources for nothing. It would add a little realism and immersion to the game with very limited work.
    What if... the guild town becomes a ruin and there are creepy ghosts of old players going about their business in this ruined guild hall ? There's still some treasure left behind from the guild that disappeared but be careful because the old guild leader is still lurking around protecting his treasure.
  • RhoklawRhoklaw Member EpicPosts: 6,327
    Jermzy said:
    Horrible idea.  Just the thought of all the coding is a nightmare.  The problem that you are trying to deal with is one of the things that make an MMO an MMO.  Just kick them from guild and find a replacement.  It is not that difficult unless you have a terrible time making friends or a lack of interest in your guild, or both.
    Except, I did note that this would only be a temporary fix...

    Rhoklaw said:
    This is just a rough idea that could probably use some tweaking, but overall, it gives a good premise for combating guildmates who go missing. This would allow guilds or even random players to make use of said skills until they either, A ) they learn the craft themselves or B ) replace the missing skills with another active Player.
    Sorry the OP was long winded but don't worry, I assume a lot of things too.

  • CymdaiCymdai Member UncommonPosts: 1,041
    I actually like the idea, but with a twist.

    I think it'd be neat to make a zone dedicated to characters who are no longer playing/active. Literally, a town of NPCs who were actual incarnates of OPC. As the game grew and grew, the city would grow and grow in size, scope, and services rendered (ultimately plugged from some mathematical formula)

    Essentially, a "ghost" town that also leads to growth. Life within death, so to speak.

    Waiting for something fresh to arrive on the MMO scene...

Sign In or Register to comment.